PersonalitiesThe Wardrobe

The Wardrobe: Ursula Damani

By David Nash

This vintage patterned dress with graphic gold brocade detail is one of Damani’s new favorites from Mercy Vintage in Oakland, and it pairs nicely with suede, metallic leather and studded Brian Atwood heels. Her jewelry is a mix of costume and heirloom pieces. If you look closely, you might spy an engagement ring, chosen with the greatest of care from Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry. That’s right, boys — she’s off the market! Photo by Peter Prato.

“My grandmother gave me my first fashion magazine subscription in 1993,” says communications and business development consultant Ursula Damani. “It was W — an incredible glossy with amazing fashion spreads.” Inspired by what she saw, Damani began to develop her individuality and fashion identity. As a teenager in Carmel, she often headed north to San Francisco’s Haight Street thrift shops for one-of-a-kind pieces. “I was really drawn to the lines of the ’50s and ’60s,” she explains. “It was unlike anything we had in stores at the mall in Monterey.” Although she still frequents vintage stores, her fashion game has more than evolved. Nearly four years as an executive editorial assistant at Harper’s Bazaar in the early 2000s taught her a thing or two about dressing. “The best piece of advice I received from Glenda Bailey, working under her at Bazaar, was ‘Don’t ever wear a designer head-to-toe, because it says everything about the designer and nothing about you.’”

Today, her fashion repertoire — which includes vintage looks by Balmain, Halston and Ted Lapidus, as well as a mix of high and low from Prada and Ferragamo to pieces found at & Other Stories and Zara — is as dynamic as her professional pursuits. Damani is a co-founder of the social entertainment service startup iSTAR, and apart from her existing roster of private global lifestyle clients, she’s recently joined forces with Vogue to develop special projects.

“Every morning I feel like I’m a blank canvas, and my clothes are my paints,” she says. “I get to paint a new story every single day.”

Damani, in her Blue Period, is poised in front of an art wall that includes oil paintings of her grandfather and great-grandfather. Her cocktail dress is custom Rubin Singer, the belt was her mother’s from the 1970s. Her silk tassel “Avery” earrings from Margaret Elizabeth, along with the 1960s blue topaz ring and bracelet, complete the color story. Photo by Peter Prato.

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